Schiit is a favoured brand by a lot of budget-minded audiophiles, and they’ve been following it for years. If you’re hearing about it for the first time, then you’ll definitely find interest in our Schiit Vidar review.
The Schiit Vidar is the company’s first dedicated loudspeaker power amplifier that’s not only efficient but affordable too. What’s notable about it is its no-compromise design. The Vidar carries the same amazing aesthetics of other Schiit products and looks incredibly sleek.
If this product has piqued your interest, then continue reading through our Schiit Vidar review to learn more about it.
Schiit Vidar Packaging
This part of our Schiit Vidar review focuses on the product’s packaging, and the contents included.
We received our Vidar in a simple-looking cardboard package. It’s a tough and durable box that’s enough to protect the amplifier.
Inside, the Vidar is kept securely in place, and it comes with other items from Schiit. Aside from the amplifier, you’ll find a power cable, user manual, and a 5-year warranty. Do note that the XLR cables, RCA cables, and speaker wires are sold separately.
Next up on our Schiit Vidar review is its design, build, and functions.
Schiit Vidar Review – Design and Functionality
Schiit often takes a simple approach to the design of their products, and a perfect example is their Vidar amp. It features a compact and boxy exterior with an industrial feel to it. This aesthetic is mostly due to its all-metal case and big heatsinks.
Similar to the other Schiit devices we’ve tried, the Vidar has a well-built body centred around a sheet of stiff and thick aluminium. It’s relatively compact at 9 x 13 x 3.85″, and is much longer than it is wide. This design makes it more convenient to fit with another Vidar on a single shelf.
Do note that the amplifier is slightly on the heavier side and weighs 22lbs. However, its weight somewhat increases due to the huge metallic heatsink fins that protrude from the case’s sides.
Front, Side, and Rear Panels
On the Vidar’s front panel, you’ll find the unit’s sign, a LED indicator, plus two little rectangular heatsinks. Compared to the other products from Schiit, the Vidar has a noticeably better build. Its aluminium top is finely-grained, and there’s no gouge as well. The top portion of its PCB sports neatly-placed surface mount parts with an excellent soldering job beneath it.
On the right and left sides, you’ll find two huge, black heatsinks made entirely of metal. It requires such heatsinks since the Vidar doesn’t come with a cooling system. These also help achieve quiet performance by releasing all the heat from the amplifier.
All inputs and outputs are on the rear panel, while the amplifier’s back portion holds two HQ binding posts. The area also holds the power switch, plus a 3-pin XLR jack. It means that the Vidar can function in dual-mono mode with a single balanced XLR cable to each amp.
Class AB Design
Instead of switching to the Class-D amp designs, the company opted for the Class-AB style which audiophiles prefer. Schiit also chose clean and sleeker-looking Class A/B amps, instead of the Class D amps that are more efficient.
The A/B amplification is popular among audiophiles since it provides a cleaner sound with lesser distortions. However, it doesn’t mean that Class D amps are inefficient. These are less noisy and are optimised to perform better; plus, the Class D amps get heated less.
Note that the Schiit Vidar doesn’t feature any active cooling, and it’s all handled passively through its case and heatsinks. Remember: no fans mean less noise. However, the Vidar may get warm or slightly hot based on how much it’s being pushed.
Of course, Schiit guaranteed to prevent any issues of overheating and excessive current draw. To do so, they installed an active protection circuit with a microprocessor that monitors every critical process. It also allows optimal operation for more efficient use.
Here, any problem that may threaten optimal operation triggers the microprocessor to stop the amp. It’s great that Schiit designed the Vidar to immediately inform us of issues via the front panel’s LED indicator. When something happens, the LED starts flashing, and you’ll have to switch the amp off, then unplug it. You’ll need to rest it for a couple of minutes before switching it back on.
You can utilise the Vidar for years, if not for decades, and it’s all thanks to the monitoring microprocessor.
Keep in mind that there isn’t an auto-standby feature on the Vidar. When it comes to its power switch, it’s at the back of the amplifier. This means that the amp should be left on at all times.
The next portion of our Schiit Vidar review focuses on the primary features of the amplifier.
Key Features of the Schiit Vidar
This part on our Schiit Vidar review is where we focus on the highlights and features of the speaker amplifier. It’ll also let you know what makes this product one of the best.
Highly Efficient Amplifier at an Affordable Price
This amplifier is nothing less than a no-excuses, unique topology, and microprocessor-controlled power amplifier. It comes with a linear supply and is double-powered, plus it’s also intelligently-controlled for efficiency and convenience.
It’s packed with a ton of cool and unique features, but what’s best about it is its three-figure price tag.
Compact and Powerful
The Schiit Vidar is a compact amp coming with a 600VA transformer. Although it’s small, it serves as a powerhouse that delivers 100W per channel in 8 Ohms. In 4 Ohms, it doubles to 200W per channel.
Flexible Design for Stereo and Mono
When you use the Vidar with a single-ended preamp like Schiit’s Saga, you can enjoy a complete system. For monoblock performance, try running two Vidar amps from a preamp with balanced outputs. Doing any of these allows you to enjoy solid performance without compromise.
Smart Oversight and Protection
The Schiit Vidar features an intelligent microprocessor that oversees the amp’s essential aspects for operation. These include DC offset to over-temperature and overcurrent faults. The microprocessor allows safe operation without using fuses and active devices in Vidar’s power supply path. You can ensure that Vidar will deliver optimal performance at all times, and it protects itself when necessary.
Designed and Made in California
The chassis, boards, transformers, assembly, and most of the production cost of Vidar goes to manufacturing companies in the US. Every single component is made in California.
5-Year Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Schiit provides a limited 5-year warranty for the Vidar, covering parts and labour. The company guarantees that it should be free from defects in workmanship and material within five years. If the Vidar has any covered defect within its warranty period, Schiit will repair it without charge. The warranty period starts from the purchasing date, which will be based on customer receipts, or the manufacturing date.
In case you’re dissatisfied with Vidar, they have an easy return policy. You can send the product back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee within 15 days after receiving it.
This time on our Schiit Vidar review, we’re focusing on the amp’s various specifications, which are impressive.
The amplifier has 100W RMS per channel in 8 Ohm speakers and 200W RMS in 4 Ohms. It also has 400W RMS in 8 Ohms when utilised in mono mode. According to Schitt, you can use the Vidar with 4 Ohm speakers that are closer to 2 Ohms.
However, remember that driving extremely low impedance speakers to high volumes can trip the protection unit.
It has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz, – 0.1dB, and 3Hz to 500KHz, – 3dB. THD is < 0.01%, 20Hz to 20KHz at 100W RMS to 8 Ohms. When it comes to the IMD, it’s < 0.01% CCIR at 100W RMS to 8 Ohms. SNR is > 115db.
The Vidar comes with > 100 to 8 Ohms, 20Hz to 20kHz for damping factor, and with gains of 22 (27dB).
The amplifier has an AKA-rated output (vrms) /rated gain for its input sensitivity. Or, you can measure it at 28V/22. For its input impedance, Vidar has 22k Ohms SE and 44k Ohms balanced, while crosstalk is > 95dB, 20Hz to 20kHz.
L/R inputs utilise RCA jacks for the stereo input, while mono inputs use a single XLR. Schiit’s amplifier has a fully-complementary topology, current feedback, full-BJT, and no DC servos or coupling capacitors.
For its measurements, the amplifier is 9 x 13 x 3.87″, and weighs a total of 22lbs.
Hands-on with the Schiit Vidar
In this section of our Schiit Vidar review, we’ll go hands-on with this speaker amp. Let’s find out if setting it up is easy, and if it delivers excellent performance.
Before testing the Schiit Vidar, we started by setting it up, which was a straightforward procedure. All of its connectors are on its rear. Since it features 5-way binding posts, we linked the speakers to the speaker terminals.
For stereo mode, connect the left speaker to the red and black terminals on the left. On the right portion, red and black output terminals are also present for connecting the right speaker.
If you’re using the Vidar as a mono amp, connect your speaker to the two red terminals at the top. You must link the right speaker to “+” and the left one to “-“. See to it that you don’t ground one of them since both are active outputs terminals.
Before switching the Vidar on, plug it into a wall socket via the included AC cord. Or, you can use any IEC-type cable. Once you’re done setting up, you can enjoy your music and leave the Vidar on as long as you want.
Vidar is an amplifier that offers a notably solid performance across all variety of music genres. The sound that it produces from our speaker sets was surprisingly accurate, clear and amazingly natural.
The music sounded absolutely amazing, especially when listening to music that incorporates a range of different sounds, we listened to Tool and it was a great listening experience. All details were audible even if there were a large range of sounds being produced by the band, something incredibly common with most Tool tracks. We didn’t hear any hissing or humming sounds.
Using Vidar brought more focus on all elements of the audio. Meaning, the amplifier helped us determine the guitar and bass’s full-chord progression. It also allowed us to clearly hear the array of sounds produced by Danny Carey on drums and the angelic tone of Maynard James Keenan on vocals.
The Vidar was able to enhance the audio beyond what you would get from a standard set of powered speakers or from any other amplifier in this price range.
We didn’t have issues with heat. It was relatively warm after setting the volume higher, but we never experienced it overheating. Schiit has done an amazing job of being able to handle cooling thanks to the large heatsinks on the Vidar. The amplifier runs whisper-quiet and is a perfect solution if you are looking for an amplifier that runs cool and quiet.
Overall, the Schiit Vidar delivered very solid performance and it gave us an impressive audiophile experience. Setting it up is easy which simply helps makes the amp a lot better.
Schiit Vidar Review Summary
At its price, the Schiit Vidar isn’t cheap, and you’ll require a preamp to adjust its volume. However, if you consider its quality, components, design, and flexibility, it’s absolutely affordable. Also, it’s expandable to the dual-mono mode and has clean power output.
Vidar isn’t categorised as a low budget amplifier, but it’s difficult to find an audiophile-grade A/B amp at its price. It has excellent build quality, superior performance, and safe operation. It will power almost anything you connect it with, and it’s easy to expand to enhance your system.
To conclude our Schiit Vidar review, we were satisfied with this speaker amp, and we highly recommend it. If you want to get your hands on this, you can purchase it from the company’s official website.